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About the Standards for VET Accredited Courses

The Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012 apply to the design and development of VET accredited courses. VET accredited courses address the skills requirements where these are not covered in nationally endorsed training packages. (A training package is a set of nationally endorsed standards and qualifications for recognising and assessing people’s skills in a specific industry, industry sector or enterprise. They are developed by Skills Service Organisations [SSOs]).

Accredited courses have the capacity to respond and address changes in skill needs, and the needs of emerging industries and industry sectors. In addition, the Standards ensure VET accredited courses provide consistency amongst nationally recognised training products by aligning to the requirements for developing Training Packages (as specified in the Standards for Training Packages).

For a course to be considered for national recognition the course accreditation application must:

  • demonstrate the course outcomes will provide the learners with vocational outcomes that lead to employment in a recognised vocation.
  • include evidence of support from industry and peak bodies that nationally recognised training is required to address the identified training gap.

Course accreditation

Accreditation of a course is confirmation by ASQA that the course meets both the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012, Standards for Training Packages and the Australian Qualifications Framework. Accreditation means the course is nationally recognised and that an RTO can issue a nationally recognised VET qualification or, following full or partial completion by learners, a VET statement of attainment. Once a course has been accredited, it is listed on the national register,

National support for the Standards

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Industry and Skills Council is responsible for endorsing VET Standards. The Council consists of Australian, state and territory ministers with responsibility for skills within their jurisdiction. Therefore, these Standards have been endorsed by a body representing the interests of all Australian states and territories and the Australian Government.

The Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012 apply under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011, which aims to:

  • provide national consistency in regulation of the VET sector, using a standards-based quality framework and a risk‑based approach
  • promote quality, flexibility and innovation in VET
  • promote Australia’s reputation for VET locally and overseas
  • provide a VET system that meets Australia’s social and economic needs
  • protect students undertaking or proposing to undertake VET in Australia
  • ensure access to accurate information regarding the quality of VET.

How the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012 benefit Australia’s VET sector

  • Learners achieve up-to-date skills and knowledge that meet industry needs.
  • Learners have access to nationally recognised training that is based on industry needs.
  • Industry is involved in shaping responsive nationally recognised training that meets identified training gaps in their sector.
  • VET accredited courses can be aligned to the membership requirements, or recognition requirements, of industry associations or peak bodies.
  • VET accredited courses do not duplicate training package content, but provide nationally recognised training in response to industry needs.
  • The Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012 provide confidence in the quality of VET accredited courses.
  • VET accredited courses can be accredited with an Australian Qualifications Framework qualification outcome, resulting in increased access to qualification outcomes for learners.
  • Community organisations are involved in shaping responsive nationally recognised training that meets identified training gaps in their sector.
  • Community organisations are able to develop accredited courses with a specific vocational outcome.
  • Providers can apply to accredit a course in cases where they identify a vocational need that is not addressed by an existing training package.
  • Accredited courses and units of competency are set out in a similar format to training packages, making them familiar for trainers and assessors that use a variety of nationally recognised training products.

Related legislation and standards

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)

The Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012 require VET accredited courses to comply with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

Implementation of the current AQF commenced on 1 January 2013 and full compliance with all aspects of the AQF has been required since 1 January 2015.

The AQF applies to the school and higher education sectors as well as the VET sector. Ensuring that course development and delivery align to the AQF helps to assure the skill level and employability of VET graduates.

Standards for Training Packages

The Standards for Training Packages ensure the design and development of training packages are of a high quality and meet workforce development needs. Enterprise units of competency developed for inclusion in a course accredited by ASQA must comply with Standards 4 – 7 of the Standards for Training Packages.

Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015

All VET accredited courses must be delivered by a registered training organisation (RTO) that has the VET accredited course on its scope of registration.

Standards for VET Regulators 2015

The Standards for VET Regulators 2015 apply to ASQA as the national regulator and provide standards that ASQA must meet when exercising its accreditation.

About the Standards for VET Regulators 2015

In 2011, the Australian Government established a new national regulator for VET called the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to ensure quality educational outcomes in the sector. ASQA is accountable to the Standards through external reviews directed by the Australian Government.

The Standards for VET Regulators 2015 describe a series of outcomes that regulators must achieve, but do not prescribe the way in which they are to be achieved. The Standards require ASQA to:

  • ensure courses are accredited in accordance with the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012
  • ensure courses that result in a licensed or regulatory outcome are supported by the relevant industry regulator
  • use accreditation assessors who meet agreed competency requirements and who consistently use contemporary best practice approaches to conducting evaluations
  • provide guidance to course owners to assist them to comply with the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012
  • implement processes that are fair, transparent, responsive and consistent
  • make decisions consistent with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness
  • accept and manage complaints about their role as a regulator, using publicly available processes
  • make service standards publicly available, and regularly review their performance against these service standards and the regulator standards.

Regulatory arrangements

ASQA came into operation as the National VET Regulator on 1 July 2011, under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 and associated legislation. Since then, ASQA has assumed responsibility for course accreditation functions previously carried out by course accrediting bodies in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland.

Both Victoria and Western Australia are ‘non-referring jurisdictions’. The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) and Western Australia Training Accreditation Council (TAC) retain some course accreditation functions within their respective jurisdictions.

ASQA assumes responsibility for course accreditation in Victoria and Western Australia where:

  • the course is developed or owned by an RTO registered with ASQA, or
  • the course is intended for delivery outside Victoria or Western Australia.

ASQA can consider applications for accreditation and accredit courses originating from any Australian state or territory. ASQA can monitor, amend or cancel (either by application by course owner or on its own initiative) any VET accredited course where ASQA has accredited, renewed or assumed regulatory responsibility for the course.

In managing course accreditation functions, ASQA must meet the requirements of the Standards for VET Regulators 2015 as per the National VET Regulator Act 2011.

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